Naomi Osaka’s return to the French Open was triumphant as she won her first-round match Sunday in straight sets, The New York Times reports.
Shortly after, however, she was fined $15,000 for missing a postmatch news conference — and was warned she risks stronger penalties, including default from the tournament, if she skips future media appointments.
On Wednesday, Osaka insisted she would not take questions from the press at the Open, saying the grillings put an undue burden on players’ mental health. She received support from several athletes for taking a stand on the issue.
Earlier this month, Osaka was recognized for her success on court and activism off it with Laureus’ 2021 Sportswoman of the Year Award, becoming the first Japanese to win one of the top honors. She also bagged the Sports Gamechanger award at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in March.
After her early exit from the Madrid Open on May 2, Osaka said she has a new plan for coping with clay, on which she has yet to win a trophy. If that plan was to avoid postmatch news conferences, it may need a rethink.
As AFP-Jiji reports, Osaka is far from the first legend to struggle on the surface, and she can take heart from the fact that most past masters eventually conquered the Parisian clay.